February/March 2017 (vol. 13/5)

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Research Plus

Preventing burnout in mental health workers

Interventions to prevent burnout in mental health professionals were effective and sustainable, according to this meta-analysis of 27 studies; however, the effects were relatively small. Most studies used the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the most widely used instrument for assessing burnout. Organisational interventions included: job training and education; co-worker support groups; clinical supervision; job redesign and restructuring; and improved team communication. Person-directed interventions included stress management workshops, mindfulness, and rational emotive therapy. There were statistically significant positive effects on burnout – immediately after the intervention and (depending on the trial) at one to six months’ follow-up – but the effects were small. Person-directed interventions were more effective than organisational interventions at reducing emotional exhaustion, but there were no differences in their reduction of overall burnout. Job training and education interventions were more effective than the other organisational interventions for lowering burnout and feelings of reduced personal accomplishment/efficacy, but there was no difference in respect of emotional exhaustion.

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 2016; online first: doi: 10.1037/ocp0000047


Occupational Health at Work February/March 2017 (vol. 13/5) pp41